Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage told a local radio station that eliminating the electoral college would take away the voice of white people.
“All the small states like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming, Montana, Rhode island—you’ll never see a presidential candidate again,” LePage said of a world where the president is elected by popular vote.
“White people will not have anything to say. It’s only going to be the minorities that would elect,” he said, speaking to WVOM radio Tuesday. “It saddens me that we’re willing to just take everything we stand for and just throw it away.”
LePage was echoing a popular defense of the electoral college. The current system of electing the president was meant to ensure any candidate would have to address the needs of every state. Were the president to be elected only through popular vote, it’s possible candidates would only campaign in the most populated states.
According to LePage, this means only Ohio, New York, Florida, Texas, California, and Illinois would elect the president, making the smaller states “forgotten people.”
“Why don’t we just adopt the constitution of Venezuela and be done with it?” he said. “Let’s have a dictator because that’s really what you’re going to boil down to.”
Despite this argument, there’s been a push to remove the electoral college, or at least devitalize it. Some say the popular vote would better represent the public: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, after all, but Donald Trump won the White House. The same occurred when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000.
A group called National Popular Vote is pushing for an agreement that would essentially elect the president via popular vote by having each state commit all of their electoral votes to whomever wins the popular vote. According to the group, the agreement has so far been enacted into law in 12 states with 172 electoral votes.